Joy and Sadness inside an active Abstract Thought.

Abstract Thought is a location in Inside Out inside Riley's mind. As indicated by the "Danger: Keep Out!" sign above its door, it is a highly dangerous room. When active, it extracts a simplified, abstract concept from anything (or anyone) put inside it following a 4-step process. The first step is non-objective fragmentation, as the object is transformed into a set of geometric Picasso-like shapes. Then follows deconstruction, where all pieces constituting the object separate. Following this, it becomes two-dimensional, as space is contracted to suppress depth, and finally, it becomes non-figurative, reaching a point of complete abstraction to a defining shape and color.

Joy, Sadness and Bing Bong entered Abstract Thought when the latter claimed it was a shortcut. Soon after they are in, two Mind Workers arrive to analyze the concept of "loneliness". However, as they see that there seems to be something inside the room already, they activate it to clean it up beforehand. The two Emotions and Bing Bong are suddenly taken through the extraction process, becoming progressively simplified in shape until they are just lines of color. They succeed, nevertheless, to escape before they are completely deconstructed when Sadness realizes they can exploit their temporarily two-dimensional state to slip through the door.


  • According to Pete Docter, Joy's design is based on a star shape and Sadness' on a teardrop. In Abstract Thought, Joy literally becomes a star, Bing Bong becomes a triangle, and Sadness becomes a teardrop when they reach the non-figurative stage.[1]
  • Docter comments that Abstract Thought would be one of the newest constructions in Riley's mind, as in real life it develops around age 10.[2] This could explain why Bing Bong thought it was a safe way and said to have gone through it numerous times already, if it had never entered in activity before.


  1. Summary of Pete Docter's Live 'Inside Out' Q&A Twitter Session
  2. Inside Out Press Kit[PDF]